Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver reacted critically to Governor Christie’s veto of legislation backed by Democrats and billed as “job creating.” She attempted to counter concerns about the cost of the legislation by arguing that the costs would not be realized immediately. There is some truth to that but Speaker Oliver could have added that benefits accruing from the legislation would not be immediate either.
Oliver’s remark was reported in an AP article published on Monday, February 21st. The same article noted an explanation by Governor Christie. In alluding to his soon to be introduced new budget, Christie said that the budget would include business tax incentives. But rather than being isolated from other spending and tax proposals the proposals in his budget would be part of a comprehensive package aimed at balancing the budget.
It’s an important point for two reasons. First, it indicates the Governor is not opposed on principle to proposals introduced by Democrats. Christie’s business tax incentives surely will differ somewhat but there is some common ground on use of tax incentives to generate job growth. Second, the entire budget could identify where alternative cuts or revenue could be sourced to balance tax incentive effects. The Democratic proposal was a stand alone consideration.
Another more in depth analysis appeared at The Washington Examiner. Vetoed legislation included provisions which “provided tax credits for renovating historic properties, while a companion measure gave tax credits to film and digital media companies operating in New Jersey. Other bills in the package provided tax credits for intern labor, helped employers hire former prisoners and made it easier for women- and minority-owned businesses to qualify for Economic Development Authority loans.”
The specifics reveal targeted beneficiaries as one might expect. But were the beneficiaries targeted based on maximum job creation return on investment or were other considerations overriding? Are historic properties and film and digital media companies wise selections? Historic properties have value but are they good prospects for generating jobs? Also, hiring prisoners and more women and minorities have related justifications. But the relevant question, in the context of job creation, is do they accomplish it or do they simply direct jobs away from some people and toward others. Is there a net gain of employment?
Governor Christie warned that “if we go back to the old ways of excessive spending and foolhardy proposals that put our state in more of a hole then we’re in already.” He will soon have his turn at bat.